Dipo hates the beginning of each new day because it reminds him of the things he has failed to accomplish but yet, all he does is sit at home all day and pray that somehow, help is going to find him. Mama watches him in silence because the many times she advised him, he’ll scream and threaten to leave the house. “Don’t you want to achieve your goals, do you want to live like I and your father when there are so many possibilities out there?” Dipo had screamed at her, throwing his hands in the air, and kicking an empty bucket that was right in front of him. “I know you are tired of sharing your food with me, I will go, I will leave you here.” Mama shook her head in pain. “If this is the way you have chosen to live your life, life will build you a mountain of trouble. You should listen to my advice and work hard so you can make your generation proud.” He hissed, “mama, there’s no point saying all of these things to me. God gave me an elder brother who is doing so well in business so that I won’t have to suffer, he should send me money. After all I am a graduate with no employment from the government yet. It will be unfair of him to think only of his wife and besides, they have no children yet.” Mama is stunned at Dipo’s response. “Your brother’s money is not your money! You must never forget that, go out there and make your own money. Your brother has a life of his own to live!
Dipo says nothing but finds himself a place to sit. The stool was dirty but instead of using a rag to wipe the dirt, he draws the empty water gallon to sit on. That same attitude of not wanting to sweat so as to be comfortable, is the reason he will rather wait for his elder brother to send him money than work for his own. The backyard looked like it had not seen a broom for years. Mama’s back hurts from years of hard labor and she sometimes wishes that Chioma will decide to come live with her and transport herself to school, but the cost will be more and the stress as well. Dipo will rather complain all day in his room, and afterwards wait for mama to make something for him to eat and if she didn’t, he’ll walk to the nearest shop to get himself 'garri' and sugar. Ever since he came back from his youth service, he caused mama nothing but pain. His elder brother had wanted to be of help to him so he sent money for him to start a business but Dipo spent the money on his girlfriend, one who slept with all kinds of men for money.
As mama stared at Dipo, tears welled up in her eyes and she wondered where she must have gone wrong when raising him. He was different from his other siblings. Even chioma his younger sister had started a small scale business so as to reduce the workload on their elder brother. The neighbors were gossiping about it already because each time they heard Dipo’s voice, they feared he will beat mama who was already frail and needed more peace than she got. Mama looked at the paw-paw tree that stood at the backyard whistling as if it was trying to tell mama a secret; she smiled, and asked Dipo to pluck the brown pawpaw leaf that was almost falling off the tree. Even that, was a simple task, but Dipo complained before he stretched his hands towards the tree. Mama let the tears fall from her eyes as she couldn’t hold it back anymore. She however said to him: “Dipo my son, you are just like this leaf and because you have let your brother carry your weight, one day you will fall down. The reason is because your brother will have to carry the weights of others too, and it will be time to let go of you, but if you are wise, you will work hard to so you can become a giant tree yourself.” Mama had just said some wise words and waited for Dipo to respond. All he did was laugh. “Mama, this thing you have said, is arrant nonsense, you are getting old and you are beginning to talk out of sense, how can you compare me to a withered leaf?” Mama failed to answer him, she was breathing too fast but he didn’t notice. Even when she fell off her chair and out of this world, all Dipo said was “aha, I knew you were sleepy as to why you were talking nonsense.” He walked away to hang out with friends, using same money that was sent for mama’s treatment cause she was hypertensive. Dipo did have eyes but it was obvious that his mind was blind, and that there was a limit to what he did see.
by Joy Okwori, published 1 month ago
I was once imprisoned by words whose aura is darkness. I was held down in this prison by unfriendly forces, so I sat on a stool of uncertainty as I held the moon.
I crawled through the night with gritted teeth, like one with no hope. And I couldn't dance because shackles held my feet.
Yesterday was once, today doesn't make it twice. I breakout, I don't belong to prison; the Judge said so. I smelt like rotten tomatoes, frail from tireless torture.
The Judge beckoned with open arms, and I ran with the speed of light. My accusers didn't know what crime to nail me with. The Judge knew what currency to bail me with; the blood.
Subscribe to Joy Okwori to access their premium contents
by eli-smooth, published 2 months, 4 weeks ago
The ride down the empty hill felt like a deluge. Five people cramped into an old Peugeot 504. The car jolted its way down the rough terrain and with each sharp turn, their eyes narrowed with despair.
The driver was Kelechi, a 22 year old medical student who had joined the fraternity about a month ago. His low hanging beard chiseled into his sharp jaw-line. The scar that was above his eye gave him a menacing look.
“How could this happen?” He wondered as he drove through the rickety slope. His eyes squinted a little as he swerved to avoid a goat that had moved into their path. The sudden swerve forced the engine to quake mildly and shut down.
They all moved out into the open space.
Silence lingered for a while.
“What do we do now?” Simi asked. Her dark skin glistening under the low light of orange setting sun. She was a psychology student. Brilliant but edgy; unwilling to succumb to the wild stereotypes that followed the other women in her life.
“We do nothing; we just bury the body where no one can find it” Sam whispered coldly.
Leah winced and paced the space around them, sobbing gently as she walked from side to side. She seemed the most distraught of the five. She wondered how different the day before had been and wondered if her life would ever be the same.
But it was the fifth person who seemed the most odd.
His tattoos were visible under the sleeveless shirt he had on. A nose piercing marked him out from the rest of them. He barely talked as the others encircled the empty bushes around. He just leaned on the car and peacefully disappeared into his thoughts.
“We were only supposed to scare him” Simi lamented. Her voice seemed to echo a distant regret.
“I keep asking what happened and no one wants to tell me. We were all on the same plan but as soon as I turn to take a leak, I return and find a fucking dead body on the floor. What happened while I was gone?” Kelechi asked. He seemed to be screaming at everyone else.
“Is it that important? Would you rather not have the truth be a little subdued from your conscience now?” Goni, the boy with the tattoos whispered back at Kelechi. His voice was cold, almost haunting.
“I don’t know. I didn’t sign up for this.” Kelechi confessed.
“Oh, so you think we all woke up and planned a murder and you were the only person out of the loop?” Simi asked angrily.
Kelechi looked away. His hands shaking under the weight of his deepest thoughts.
Sam chuckled slyly as he watched Leah’s wandering theatrics. He seemed calmer than he was a few minutes ago.
“The truth is right here. Whatever we say it is” Sam cuts in. The others looked at him. He nodded. They all nod back except for Goni.
“We still haven’t answered the most pertinent question though. Who poisoned the little old chap?” He asked calmly.
“Does it matter, we all know he was a dwindling, two faced monster” Leah said.
She had stopped pacing and sobbing. She seemed calmer and her big round eyes cut into her beautiful face. Sam looked at her in admiration
“We all knew that, but we also knew that the idea was to scare him and not to murder. So who amongst us had the most reasons to murder him?” Goni asked.
They all went quiet. The few seconds left between their breaths built up a reckless angst. Leah stared at each of their faces. She wondered who amongst them fits the murder type best..
Sam was a nerd.
It was odd that the frat boys loved him but underneath his queer humor and deep lingering eyes, there was no reason to suspect that he could be a killer. Leah thought. Simi was mostly indifferent; capable of the mundane but also the awe inspiring moments. Her calculative mind set her apart as the most logical of the group.
Kelechi was by matter of chance, the only one that was unavailable when they witnessed the death.
Goni was the one who seemed the most vulnerable to accusations. He had fought with the dead boy just a few minutes before the boy broke into a fit. He seemed more dangerous than anyone else and he also seemed to be nonchalant about the corpse that lay in the trunk of the car that had just stopped.
The five of them stood in an arc as the trunk was slowly being opened. The three boys straddle the body and move it towards the empty path that led one into the bushes. The rustling of the leaves just in front of them stopped them in their tracks.
A Park ranger had his gun pointed at them. The boys surrendered and raised their hands. The Ranger looked on in surprise.
“Who killed him?” He asked as he nudged the safety of the gun; turning it off.
The group stood, staring at him in silence.
“Who killed my partner?” The Ranger asked again.
This time his gun was pointed at a visibly distraught Simi.
She was overcome with fear.
She poisoned him because he raped her” Simi confessed.
The boys look back at Leah, stunned.
Leah’s face bore a look of resignation.
“Thanks so much for having my back; Lover” she said in disgust.
They boys all stood stunned. Processing both news that had crept into their ears.